Celebrity Merch Goes South

What does it mean when a celebrity denounces a consumer product line featuring their likeness?
Patricia DeLuca

December 21, 2022

License Global holding image.
License Global holding image.

For celebrities, brand licensing is a way to earn income, and part of a celebrity’s trajectory is a brand licensing program. There are



makeup collaborations


NFT partnerships


apparel collections with retailers

and many more for their fans to purchase. Some celebrity consumer product lines are one-offs, while other celebrities launch

lines under their name


Licensed fashion is big business. According to

License Global’s Top Global Licensors Report

, the category earns $37.6 billion in revenue, and the top category for licensees (70%).  

Most celebrities work with licensors and agencies to make sure their likeness is approved on upcoming merchandise and consumer products. So, when a celebrity takes to social media to discourage fans from buying their branded merch, it makes headlines.  

On Tuesday, musician Justin Bieber took to his

Instagram Stories


discourage fans from buying apparel

and accessories from global retailer H&M featuring his likeness and branding.  


is well-versed in licensing. Past collaborations include a

home textiles line with Dreamtex

deodorant with Schmidt’s Natural


merch and food with Tim Hortons.

He also launched an apparel line,

Drew House

(which just dropped a collaboration with hockey team, Toronto Maple Leafs) and co-founded


, an NFT initiative.  

“As with all other licensed products and partnerships, H&M followed proper approval procedures,” says

H&M in a statement

to several news outlets. 

License Global reached out to representatives at Bravado, who has represented Bieber in licensing, but declined to comment.

From his past projects, the Grammy-award-winning artist has experienced the timespan of getting a licensed product to market. It could take months, if not years, to launch a licensing program approved by all parties involved (the celebrity, licensor, licensee, managers, et. al). If a retailer were to release an unauthorized product with a celebrity's likeness, they would risk cease-and-desist orders and additional legal consequences. He also knows the power of social media. A day after Bieber posted his IG Stories, H&M removed the branded merchandise. 

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